Be Thankful

For years I struggled with the concept of where I wanted to be in life, or where I thought I should be. For years I thought I was the only one who didn’t have it all figured out. But I’m happy to say that I’ve realized very few of us actually have it all figured out (and I do mean very few).

Here’s the thing. As far as a career is concerned, I’ve always known exactly what I wanted to do with my life. From the time I was child I knew I wanted to be a photographer and a writer. (I mean, for a time, I thought about being a veterinarian since I love animals, but then I learned you have to put animals to sleep sometimes if they’re suffering too much and I said, “Nope.” And then there was all that math and science. Not really for me.) As I grew up, I realized how difficult it was to break into these fields and be recognized. (No offense, but any fool with a camera can snap a picture and please don’t even get me started on some of the poorly written literature that’s been published simply because it will sell.)

I’m not saying I’m above anyone or entitled to things. I’m not. But when you work your butt off and give it your all every single day simply to feel like you’re getting nowhere…well, it can become frustrating. I often found myself wondering, “What about me?” or “When’s it my turn?” And those were days where I thought about giving up.

But those are the days you have to push yourself.

I’m glad I kept going. I’m glad I never threw in the towel.

Looking back, I realize that those struggles were some of the most exciting times. (Not that things aren’t exciting now…because they are!) Those were the struggles that set me on the path to where I am today. (And believe me…there are still plenty of struggles.)

I’m 25. I’ve been photographing since I was about seven. It’s only recently that I’ve broken into concert photography. Officially. You know, with press passes and all that jazz. And it’s only been within the last two years that my photos have appeared online (unless, of course, you count newspapers and magazines too). I’ve been writing since I was in second grade. I’ve been published in newspapers and magazines, but my fiction still hasn’t been seen by anyone except my family and friends.

But the struggle makes you appreciate the success that much more.

So after having a conversation with a friend one night, I started thinking about where I am in life. Without dragging you all through the details, I guess I thought I would be further then where I am right now. I mean, it took so long to get to this point.

But it’s easy to become caught up in the things you don’t have instead of looking at everything you do have and being thankful.

I did.

That realization hit me after reading something a friend wrote.

And it’s true. In this world of competition we’re all trying to be first. We all want the top spot and end up missing out on the journey.

I think it’s more then all of this though. I think it has to do with being thankful for what you have because we are all so fortunate.

Pondering all of this made me think about people in other countries. It made me think about others in general. I’ve seen and talked to people who have a lot less then I do.

They basically have nothing, yet appear happy – always with a smile on their face. It makes me wonder how those who have nothing can be so happy, yet those (like us) who have access to everything can be so miserable.

So here’s what I think it comes down to – being thankful for what we have in our lives instead of worrying about the things we believe are missing.

I’m thankful for my family and friends. I’m thankful for the dog and how she greets me everyday when I come home from work. I’m thankful for opportunities. I’m thankful for each new day. I’m thankful for the people who have touched my life without knowing it. (And that’s just to name a few.)

Yes. I believe it all comes down to being thankful for what we’ve been given. (Although, this might be difficult to do at times.) But worrying about what you don’t have and thinking you deserve more will only lead to missing out on the journey.

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